Tech Data Expands With Apple-Focused Unit


The Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor's AppleAdvantage initiative includes sales, technical and product management resources, according to Pete Peterson, vice president of systems product marketing at Tech Data. "I've found in my travels [that] it's not just about iPods. We're having success with the notebook business and moderate success with their storage business," he said. "We see it as a great opportunity for us, and we're putting knowledgeable resources under one umbrella."

Peterson expects demand for Apple solutions to grow dramatically over the next several years once kids familiar with the iPod culture hit the professional workforce. "I don't want to dismiss the success of the iPod, but it [also] opens the door for acceptance and adoption for a broader set of IT products," he said.

The AppleAdvantage SBU plans to create a dedicated Web resource center for solution providers to access Apple-related product and program information. In addition, Tech Data will work with Apple to introduce training and financing opportunities, peer-to-peer and vendor engagement events, Peterson said.

Jim Habel, president of MacOutfitters, a VAR in Doylestown, Pa., said Tech Data asked his company for suggestions to improve its Apple offerings. "It's nice to see a team of people recognize the Mac platform and peripherals. We have a dedicated team [at Tech Data] now that is up to speed on the Mac platform and knows the products," he said. "They're much more focused now on what we're focused on."

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Tech Data also will host Apple training events at its TDSolutions Center, a 4,500-square-foot lab that also includes networking, VoIP, security, document management, professional audio/video, storage and videoconferencing solutions.

The AppleAdvantage SBU will complement Tech Data's MacFocus subset of its TechSelect community, the company said. MacFocus continues to offer 60-day terms on all Apple purchases and rebates on approved certification training.

With the SBU, Tech Data intends to target solution providers that have not sold Apple solutions in the past. Peterson hopes those solution providers will look at Apple, especially now that the vendor has products on the Intel platform. "That old proprietary thought process and mentality is not the focus going forward," he said.